The coronavirus pandemic was the straw the broke JC Penny's back. Or at least drove the company into bankruptcy protection on May 15, according to CNN. With the company restructuring underway the retailer says they've taken the first step in their store optimization strategy which is identifying 154 stores which will close.

The good news, only two Missouri stores are currently slated for closure. And the store in the Thompson Hills Shopping Center in Sedalia is not on the list. Neither are stores in Columbia and Jefferson City.

One of the stores Penny's is closing in Missouri is Kirksville, and the other is in Bolger Square on 39th Street near the Target and Independence Center.

Unfortunately that doesn't mean that the Sedalia or Columbia store is in the clear, or that there won't be more closings. In fact, JC Penny says there will be more closings as their bankruptcy reorganization continues. "The Company expects additional phases of store closing sales will begin in the coming weeks. As the Company remains focused on its Plan for Renewal and driving sustainable, profitable growth, it intends to reduce its store footprint and focus resources on its strongest stores and powerful eCommerce flagship store, jcp.com."

I hope the store's Sedalia location can survive the next rounds of closing stores. I like that towns like Sedalia and Warrensburg have some of these major retailers that aren't Walmart. I think it's good for the community and it creates a better quality of living for residents.

That said, people actually need to shop in the stores. And while I appreciate JC Penny's presence, I can't say I've set foot in any one of their stores or bought anything from them since I was in my early 20's.

At first, I just wasn't a big department store kind of guy. I didn't need dress shirts, or nice pants, or smell good. And when I started to need those things. Being budget conscious, or just taking the path of least resistance, I got it on the web or just went to the Walmart and got the dress shirt I needed while grocery shopping.

And that's really retail's problem. Back in the day having a JC Penny's or a K-Mart was a big deal. A convenience. These days towns that could only dream of a K-Mart have a Walmart. And Penny's and stores like it: Why get in your car, drive to the store, look for something, pay for it, and drive home when you can do all that from your couch and have it delivered?

If you like the idea of JC Penny's in Sedalia, it might be time to stop in and shop for a new dress or a new polo shirt. It might save the store location, or it might be the last time you shop at a JC Penny's. That chapter hasn't been written yet.